Question: My daughter is a solid C student (learning issues discovered mid-sophomore year). Some of the schools she is looking at (small, not competitive) have rolling admissions. Is it better for her to get her application in or is it more important to wait until the first grading period is complete? She has a 2.3 and her first trimester grade should be a 2.5?
You don't say when the trimester ends, which could be a critical piece of this puzzle. However, it sounds like there is only going to be a small difference between her previous GPA (2.3) and the grades she anticipates (2.5). So, in this case, sooner is probably better. Had your daughter expected to jump from a 2.3. to significantly higher trimester grades (~3.0 or above) then I would advise you to hold off, especially if the trimester will wrap up by some time in November.
Also, given that your daughter's list includes colleges that you describe as "small, not competitive," it makes sense to me that she should show her commitment by getting her application in ASAP. It would also be a plus for her to demonstrate her (genuine, of course) interest in these schools in other ways .... e.g., interviews (if offered), an application cover letter explaining why each college is a good fit (not necessary if the application asks this already or if your daughter can't get beyond generic reasons such as, "I felt at home when I visited" or "The dorms looked really nice.")
Finally, you may not have much influence when it comes to what the guidance counselors says in his or her references. But if you can put in a word about mentioning your daughter's late LD diagnosis and her upward trend since, including this term, that should work in her favor as well.